It hasn't moved in almost half a year.
Missing in Action
China's Tianwen-1 mission to Mars was off to a great start.
The mission's lander touched down on the surface in May 2021, followed by the deployment of the mission's Zhurong rover a week later.
Roughly a year later, Zhurong entered hibernation mode due to dwindling solar power supplies, in preparation for Martian winter.
While the rover was meant to autonomously wake back up in December, Zhurong and its team have remained unusually silent about its fate, Space.com reports — and given the Chinese government's secrecy around these matters, it's unlikely we'll be getting an answer any time soon.
In other words, we can only hazard a guess as to what the status of Zhurong is right now.
We've heard very little in the past couple of months about the rover. In early January, unnamed sources told the South China Morning Post that teams back on Earth had yet to receive a signal.
Earlier this month, state-controlled media also shared a brief celebration of the mission's two years in Martian orbit, and only barely made mention of the rover.
We do know, however, thanks to recent images taken by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, that Zhurong hasn't moved from its hibernation spot in the planet's Utopia Planitia region since at least September 2022.
Zhurong was only to jump back into action if temperatures were above five degrees Fahrenheit and it was able to generate 140 watts of power. Unlike its many predecessors, which relied on radioisotope heater units to stay warm, Zhurong used a chemical called n-undecane to store heat energy, according to Space.com.
Apart from Zhurong's unknown fate, Tianwen-1 still represents a huge success for China, which became only the second country to both land and successfully remotely control a rover on the Red Planet.
READ MORE: China silent on fate of Zhurong Mars rover on 2nd anniversary of Tianwen-1 mission [Space.com]
More on Zhurong: Something Is Reportedly Wrong With China's Mars Rover